Sunday, January 31, 2016

"Gay PDA Is Okay!"

"Let Love Be... Live Fearlessly"

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 2255"

"Love, Happiness And Eternity..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"The Imitation Of Life..."

Burnt Money, is set in Argentina in 1965. This true story follows the tumultuous relationship between two men who became lovers and ultimately ruthless bank robbers in a notoriously famous footnote in the annals of Argentinian crime history. Nene, Angel and Cuervo are bank robbers who flee from Argentina across the border to Uruguay after a large-scale hold-up that turns bloody. Angel is hurt and the three must lay low until Angel recovers. Nene and Angel are known to everyone they know as "the twins" because of their resemblance, but the two are not brothers at all - they are involved in a steamy love affair. To get back to Argentina, the group must first wait for Fontana, the brains behind the robbery, to arrange for passports. Anxious from hiding, Cuervo decides to break curfew and go party. After Nene and Angel also decide to take off, Nene meets a prostitute named Giselle and Angel ends up getting in a fight. The group is forced to abandon their refuge and Angel and Nene decide to move in with Giselle. However, the sexual attraction between Nene and Angel burns too strongly and when Nene gets hostile with Giselle and kicks her out, she goes straight to the police to snitch on the group. It's not long before police are surrounding the building and the fate of Nene and Angel appears to be sealed.

"The Truth About Love..."

True love always brings joy to ourselves and to the one we love. If our love does not bring joy to both of us, it is not true love.

-Thich Nhat Hanh

"We Were Always There..."

"We bravely made our lives together..."

"Love And Life's Journeys..."

From the work of Chicago born photographer Richard Renaldi. Over the course of more than a decade, Richard has recorded images of himself and his partner Seth Boyd in their hotel rooms across the country and around the world for his project "Hotel Room Portraits."

I fell in love with these images from the very first time that I saw them.  There is something incredibly familiar and comforting in recognizing not only the love between Richard and Seth, but also the rigors of travel and the occasional weary eyes and tiredness that we all fall prey to.  Moreover, these photos reveal an intimacy and comfortableness that one finds only when two people are truly in love... They reveal "love and life's journeys."

Richard RenaldiRichard Renaldi was born in Chicago in 1968. He received his BFA in photography from New York University in 1990. Exhibitions of his photographs have been mounted in galleries and museums throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe. In 2006 Renaldi's first monograph, Figure and Ground, was published by the Aperture Foundation. His second monograph, Fall River Boys, was released in 2009. Richard Renaldi is the founder and publisher of Charles Lane Press.

"Selfie Love..."

"Selfie Love" - those beautiful, grainy, out-of-focus self-pics that capture the truth of true love...

"This Made Me Smile..."

I don't know what it is, (maybe it's my own OGT*) but I love to see people dancing... I usually hate musicals, but I love dance scenes in movies. The funny thing is, I can only recall dancing in public once in my life.

* OGT: "Obviously Gay Trait" - stereotypical markers that seem to be common among gay men. Examples include: disliking sports, a propensity towards service industry careers, an affinity for the arts and cultural pursuits, etc. (generally nonsense, but sometimes telling...)

"The Views To Love..."

The joy of life with love...

"The Artist's Corner..."

"A Healing"
Oil on Canvas
Will Wilson

Saturday, January 30, 2016

"Gay PDA Is Okay!"

"Love Is Beautiful At Every Age... Live Fearlessly"

"And The Truth Shall Set You Free..."

My 30 Years Of Being Out And Proud In Leadership

World Economic Forum
Dan Bross, Senior Director, Microsoft
January 4, 2016

What a difference 30 years makes.

With some countries legalizing same-sex marriage, more prominent out public-figures, and the Gen X/Y crowd leading the way in acceptance and tolerance, it’s clear that times are changing for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

But for many LGBT people across the world, homophobia, fear and hate remains a daily reality. Many in the global business community have been leading by example – including Microsoft – but more work remains to ensure that, as written in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “the inherent dignity and …equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family,” are realized.

I would like share my personal story – my personal journey, really. That means going back 30 years to 1985 when I was living in Houston, Texas and leading State Government and Community Affairs for a Fortune 500 oil and natural gas company.

Things were happening in Houston. The local economy was booming and the city had just elected a woman as mayor. The mayor was a whip-smart visionary who recognized the economic and business value of diversity and inclusion. She drove a progressive policy agenda through the city council, including an ordinance to end discrimination in the hiring of Houston city employees based on their sexual orientation. Forward-looking members of the Houston City Council shared the Mayor’s vision and adopted the ordinance.

However, this being Houston in 1985, a number of the city’s so-called business leaders came together to lead a referendum effort to overturn the Council’s vote.

Gay by night, straight by day

At the time I was gay by night but straight by day, which is a recipe for hours on a therapist’s couch! I was solely focused on climbing the corporate ladder and nothing was going to get in my way, not even my true self. So one day I nodded quiet approval during a meeting as the Chairman and other senior executives discussed the financial support the company would provide to the repeal effort. I remember that meeting as if it were yesterday. Their jokes, hatred and fear that Houston would become “another San Francisco”.

That day was a turning point in my life. I was torn apart emotionally and so tired of hiding who I really was. That evening I called the equality campaign and began raising money for the campaign by passing baskets around one of the city’s gay bars asking for campaign donations. I volunteered that night and most nights until election day by fundraising, phone banking and door-to-door campaigning.

Sadly, homophobia and fear prevailed on election day and the non-discrimination ordinance was repealed.

“You’ll never get another job in corporate America”

A few months after the meeting with the Chairman and other senior executives, I left the company to spend the next ten years working in the LGBT and HIV/AIDS communities in California; Washington, DC; and New York.

The HIV/AIDS crisis was running rampant. By living my life’s lie in Houston, I realized I was contributing to the fear, ignorance and discrimination because there was scarce understanding within many corporations that members of the LGBT community were significant contributors to their bottom line as employees, consumers, investors and more. I quickly learned that by coming out, I could help to raise awareness and dispel stereotypes.

Before leaving the company I told a friend about my plans and he said, “Well, good luck, but you better realize you will never get another job in corporate America if you work on ‘those issues’.”.

In a way, he was right. I never did get a job in the same corporate America which I left behind in Houston.

In November 2015, I celebrated my 17th anniversary at Microsoft where I am senior director for Business and Corporate Responsibility. This position gives me the opportunity to work internally across Microsoft business groups and externally with a wide range of stakeholders on a number of issues – including human rights.

I also have the privilege of serving alongside my terrific co-chair Cynthia Per-Lee as Executive Sponsor of GLEAM, Gay and Lesbian Employees at Microsoft.

When I was hired in 1998 Microsoft valued not only my experience and background but also who I was as a person – an openly gay man proud of the LGBT and HIV/AIDS work I had done for over a decade.

Microsoft’s commitment to diversity and inclusion did not start when I joined the company. In 1993, Microsoft became the first Fortune 500 company to provide same-sex domestic partnership benefits and Microsoft was also one of the first companies to include sexual orientation in its corporate non-discrimination policy. We have a long and proud history of adopting forward-looking global policies based on our commitment to equality for all.

Homosexual relationships are still punishable by death

During Davos 2015, my colleague Beth Brooke-Marciniak, Global Vice Chair of Public Policy at EY, and I had the honor of hosting a meeting of a large number of global companies to discuss our collective commitments to LGBT equality. Since last year’s discussion there have been tremendous gains made in LGBT inclusion, non-discrimination and equality.

In 2015 alone, same-sex marriage became legally recognized in Luxembourg, Slovenia, Ireland, and the United States. But this progress is not represented evenly across the globe. Many countries and even some US states still have no laws against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In a number of countries, homosexual relationships and expression is still considered a crime, even punishable by death, and restrictions against activities including adoption, gender reassignment surgery, and military service continue.

This is why the discussions we will be having on LGBT issues in Davos later this month are so important. Thought-leading companies working in partnership with civil society organizations, government leaders, members of the faith community, human rights organizations, investors and others have the opportunity and responsibility to shine a bright light on the business and social value of diversity and inclusion.

At Microsoft, we believe diversity is a pre-requisite for success. It helps drive our business and our bottom line. Our ability to create technology that empowers every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more can only be achieved thanks to our employees and by supporting them to achieve more.

I left a homophobic and transphobic environment to be who I was, and I know this made me able to achieve so much more.

Author: Dan Bross is Senior Director, Business and Corporate Responsibility and Executive Director, Microsoft Technology and Human Rights Center at Microsoft.


"Fear Eats the Soul"

"The Views To Love..."

Family requires only love and a willing heart...

"The Things That Love Says..."

(click to enlarge)

What would you say to your ex if you could?

This is the premise of 19-year-old, California–based artist Rora Blue. Last year, Blue asked people to send her their first love’s name and the message they wish they could send them. She also asked respondents to specify which color they think of when their first love comes to mind. Over 2,000 people responded to the original prompt. She then printed the messages on the color paper each person specified and arranged 400 of these texts by color into a massive collage.

As you might expect, the messages range from sad sentiments to bitter thoughts to sweet notes of closure. Since she launched the project last year, more than 25,000 people have shared messages they’ll never send.

See more here:

"We Were Always There..."

"We bravely loved one another..."

"The Truth When You're Black, Gay And Famous..."

"I am a gay man. I am a gay man. I am a gay man.
I don’t know how many times I have to say that.”

Jussie Smollett on How a Black Gay Man Can Save the World
Shana Naomi Krochmal
January 28, 2016

“Mr. B. is coming,” the producer said, but Jussie Smollett had no idea what that meant.

On Empire, he’d recorded with everyone from Rita Ora and Patti LaBelle to Alicia Keys, an embarrassment of musical riches so great that it almost became easier to make a short list of R&B and rap artists who hadn’t been on the show — yet.

But on this day in Swizz Beatz’s New York studio, they were working on something a little different: a Pepsi commercial jingle for his character, Jamal Lyon. Smollett wasn’t expecting anyone else.

“You know,” Swizz said. “Mr. B. — Mr. Belafonte.”

And that was when Smollett lost his chill. Sure, he’d gushed over LaBelle. And every day at work he was going head-to-head with formidable, far more experienced actors. But Harry Belafonte was in another league, and Smollett was unprepared.

“I felt like I was meeting a pharaoh or a king,” says Smollett, who told Mr. Belafonte — as he insists on calling him, with full respect accorded — that he had long been an idol above all others. That was why Swizz had secretly invited Belafonte to join them. “He’s a great man,” Smollett adds. “And he has kept his voice as an activist without losing his voice as an artist.”

There was just one, very embarrassing problem. “I didn’t know I was going to meet him — so I was wearing a raggedy-assed tee. I put on the only thing I had in my bag, which was a sweater.” There was crisp, elegant Mr. Belafonte — who at age 89 still glows serenely — and Smollett was literally a hot mess. “It was so out of I Love Lucy. But he was still so sweet, and in the middle of me telling him how much he meant to me, he cut me off and said, ‘When do we get to break bread?’ ”

Empire co-creator Lee Daniels was also at the studio that day. “I remember Harry being so complimentary of Jussie,” he says, “and it was the first time I saw Jussie starstruck. It was funny to see him squirm.”

After Belafonte left, Daniels teased Smollett. “I said, ‘Fucker, you weren’t even that nervous when you auditioned for me. What the fuck?’ ” Daniels chuckles loudly at the memory, and then falls serious again. “But that’s because Harry was a leader at the forefront of the civil rights movement — and that’s who Jussie is, too.”

Smollett, 32, is having a hell of a year. It’s the day before the Golden Globes, where Empire, which was also the highest-rated scripted broadcast program in the 2014-15 season, is nominated for best TV drama. This morning he was shooting in Chicago, then on a private plane with his castmates to Los Angeles. Tomorrow he walks the red carpet and jets back into the cold Midwestern winter. In between, he has a photo shoot and an interview.

“I don’t take this career for granted,” he says, “and I have been given a very special platform through Empire to speak on a weekly basis about love and truth and acceptance.”

Indeed, on Empire, Fox’s prime-time musical soap opera about a tumultuous, morally ambiguous family and the record company they built and struggle to hold on to, Smollett’s middle-child character, Jamal, is often the only one it’s easy to root for.

In blistering flashbacks, we relive Jamal’s angry father, Lucious (Terrence Howard), discovering his son tottering in high heels, only to unceremoniously carry the child downstairs and deposit him in a trash can (a scene drawn from Daniels’s own life). Lucious condemns, threatens, belittles, and then — sometimes — agrees to disagree with the fact that Jamal is gay. That Jamal’s mother (Cookie, played by Taraji P. Henson) fully supports her son’s sexuality is undercut slightly by how everyone in the family uses, well, everything against each other eventually.

“I was so afraid to tell the true story of what it’s like to walk in the shoes of a black man that’s gay in the music business, where it’s really shunned,” Daniels says. “Jussie has brought to life that character. He’s so fucking smart —  much smarter than Jamal — and I think he’s a really good role model, whereas Jamal is more of an artist, and selfish, in a beautiful way.”

Smollett is trying his damnedest to do his part. (His actual Twitter bio: “I am here to help save the world.”) “I have so much love inside that it pains me sometimes,” he says. “You end up finding yourself all-consumed by the issues of the world, and that’s something I don’t want to change about myself. So until the love of my life shows up, until I find my boo, I’m just going to be out, up in this piece, a lone ranger.”

We’re sitting behind the soundboard in Valentine Recording Studios on Laurel Canyon — not the Joni Mitchell end high in the Hollywood Hills, but an unassuming storefront on the flat boulevard cutting north through the Valley.

Giants from Bing Crosby to the Beach Boys cut classic albums here. It’s a time capsule that’s gone untouched for nearly 35 years and has only recently been reopened for business. A vending machine squeezed into a hallway urges you to “be sociable, have a Pepsi,” for just 65 cents a bottle. Delighted, Smollett asks whether it was brought in as a prop. (It wasn’t, just another life-imitates-Empire moment of verisimilitude.)

He settles into a low-slung chair, tucking one leg under himself, and takes stock of how he got here. “It’s been 367 days that I’ve been known,” he says, counting back to Empire’s premiere on January 7, 2015. The date is impossible to forget because on the brink of Smollett going from relative obscurity to being seen by millions of people every week, his father died.

“He passed away that morning — so, yeah, it sucked. But I had no choice but to be grounded,” Smollett says. “I was so rooted in family and in love when it all happened that if I was going to change, it wasn’t going to happen now.”

Joel Smollett, Sr., was a Russian-Polish Jew (“he’d kill you if you called him white, though,” Jussie says), a hardworking guy who supported the family as a cable splicer at ITT in New York and then PacBell. “Like him, I’m probably over-protective,” Smollett says. “He was a worrywart.” And when he’s now faced with the bizarre new realities of his life — like paparazzi following him — it’s his dad he wants to call. “He’d be like, ‘Man, I’m going to go and get a security guard outfit and follow you.’ And I’m like, ‘You’re 5 foot 7. Chill out, you’re not going to do anything.’ ”

Smollett’s eyes fill with tears. “My father was far from perfect, but he was OK with changing, with becoming a better man — so I had my dad before he left us. I didn’t have him necessarily all through my childhood, the way I would have liked, but I had him in those last years, and for that I’m forever grateful.”

It was Smollett’s mother, Janet, who largely managed him and his five siblings — he’s the third oldest — including a series of cross-country moves as the kids pursued acting careers. “My older sister Jazz called up NBC and said, ‘I want to play Rudy [Huxtable]’s friend.’ My mom said no. But she’s a combination of Cookie Lyon and Fräulein Maria from The Sound of Music. We used to march around and imagine that we were the Von Trapp children — we were only one off, cause there’s seven of them. So while she was saying no, we were being trained.”

His parents separated when he was 15, and Smollett struggled to find the next beat after Disney fare like Mighty Ducks and On Our Own, a short-lived ABC sitcom starring all six of the Smollett kids as the orphaned brood raised by their oldest brother in Mrs. Doubtfire-style drag. “I wasn’t a child star,” he insists. “I was just a working actor. And then I wasn’t a cutesy kid anymore, but I also wasn’t a leading man.”

Plus, “Even when I got out of the business, my family was still in the business,” he says. “I went to three different high schools in my senior year alone,” including the L.A.-area Calabasas High School — “it was called Cala-black-less,” Smollett remembers — and later Malibu High, also predominantly white. “I felt very, very out of place. Every day it was almost like, when you’re putting your drawers on, you’re putting on your armor.”

He spent lunches at the library. “And I dreamed of this — that I would be able to do all the things I wanted to do. How would I navigate a world where I was told I should probably be behind the camera because of being gay?”

 In his last year, after winning the lead in a production of Damn Yankees, he lost it. “People were uncomfortable that I would be kissing this white girl,” he says. “It was 2000. After that, I left the school, because why subject myself to that bullshit?”

Looking back, he finds an upside. “It made my balls drop,” he says, with almost Terrence Howard-like braggadocio. “It grew some hair on my chest. It made me a man.”

And there was one last creative refuge: “I knew that I wanted to do music. From the time I was 13 until now — so almost 20 years — I’ve been recording.”

Six of his own songs have been used on Empire, though his album is currently on hold while he focuses on the show, where he’s at least able to learn from its guests. “Who knows more about publishing than Mariah Carey? She schooled me. She truly is one of the most brilliant people that I’ve ever talked to.”

Before they were allowed to act or sing, Smollett and his siblings had to truly understand their most important role — as activists. “That work started when I was a child,” he says.

His younger sister, Jurnee — also still an actor — was inspired by the story of Hydeia Broadbent, the famous 1990s “AIDS baby.” She began working with Los Angeles-area advocates, including Black AIDS Institute founder Phill Wilson, who became Jussie’s mentor. (“One day I will do a movie about him,” pledges Smollett, who was honored by Wilson’s organization last year and now sits on its board.)

Smollett ended up a staffer at Artists for a New South Africa. He spent five years with a brutal two-hour commute on a bus, coordinating donations for auctions that raised money for the group’s AIDS work. He kept making music, traveled to Europe when he could afford it, and eventually had scored enough support for his songs that he could quit to make an album — and go back to auditioning, too.

He booked guest roles on The Mindy Project and Revenge and a few small films, then heard about Empire and found his way to Daniels, who cast Smollett in a role based largely on Daniels’s own youth. “It’s easy for me to write about my experience,” Daniels says. “It’s therapeutic even. And it’s easy for me to hide behind my desk — Jussie has to perform it. I’m not as brave as he is.”

Unlike Jamal, Smollett says, “I have not been handed a silver spoon. I have not been handed a thing in my life, except love. With that said, it’s been difficult for me for many of the same reasons as Jamal, but I have had to work really, really hard — not just for acceptance, but also for my bread and butter. And that’s why I don’t take any of it for granted.”

Not taking it for granted, staying grounded because of his family, also means being willing to walk away — and at one point in the past year he thought he might. As the heady success of Empire rolled forward last spring, picking up viewers at an unprecedented rate, there were two things on Smollett’s mind.

One: When and how would he officially, publicly be ready to talk about his sexual orientation?

And two: How would he use this new, huge platform to raise his voice against injustice, to say unequivocally that black lives matter?

There was basically full support to say or not say whatever he wanted about his orientation. He was playing a gay character on an acclaimed show created by an outspoken gay man. But there was also Taraji P. Henson’s perspective, per Smollett: “She said, ‘Who gives a fuck? I don’t tell these motherfuckers that I’m straight. Why the fuck do you have to tell them that you’re gay?’ That was so O.G., and it just made me love her even more.”

When it came to calling out violence against communities of color, however, there was suddenly serious pushback. “I was told by two executives, ‘You know, maybe just wait. Just wait,’ ” Smollett says. He was planning to travel to Washington, D.C., speak on the steps of the Capitol as part of the March 2 Justice, and then help deliver a legislative package on police brutality to Congress.

“[The executives] were talking specifically about politics. My response was, ‘But they’re listening now.’ And if millions of people are listening, you should say something worth hearing.”

He paid his own way to the march. “People were telling me, ‘Don’t do it.’ But I felt like, If I lose my career based on this, then I don’t need that career.” He shrugs, acknowledging a certain amount of rhetoric. “I know damn well that this is the career for me, but I don’t know how to turn a blind eye.”

He sits forward, emphatic. “You mean to tell me just because I make movies and TV and music that I can’t talk about what’s going on in the world I live in? Really? That’s not fair. Forget that. Because I’m scared that maybe viewership is going to go down? Or my next single isn’t going to do as well? Or I won’t get a movie?” He rolls his eyes. “At some point, I was going to say what I believe anyway.” (In the fall of 2015, Empire frequently referenced the Black Lives Matter movement and many of the key issues raised by its advocates. Daniels concurs: “Many people don’t like that I’m blunt about it. I get in trouble a lot, but I don’t care.”)

Along the way, Smollett met DeRay Mckesson, one of the more visible advocates to emerge from the protests in Ferguson, Mo., after Michael Brown’s death (and an honoree in last year’s Out100). “Jussie has made a commitment both to understanding the issues and speaking about them,” Mckesson says, diplomatically contrasting this to the experience of movement work with some well-intentioned but less-informed celebrities.

“We are having these conversations exploring and thinking through the details of a particular death or situation, and then what potential next steps can be. He truly cares, understands, and wants to use his platform to amplify this work and get us closer to solutions.” And, Mckesson adds, “He’s just a good person who’s not afraid to say or tell the truth.”

“There is so much work to be done,” Smollett says. “Like, oh my God, we are fucked up. Next-level fucked up. And I don’t know what the fuck we are going to do, but we got to do something, and we’ve got to do it fast. We’ve got to change the world, y’all.”

Last March, Smollett was a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “I was like two months deep into this fame thing,” he says. He wasn’t going to say he was gay. He’d come out to his parents at 19. Jamal was on TV every week. He didn’t need to tell the world.

“The second you say something, they want that to be your storyline forever,” he says. “That narrative doesn’t interest me at all.”

Plus, “If people really looked,” he says, they’d know he’d already played gay — including in sex scenes that made Empire’s own boundary-breaking scenes look tame — in a 2012 Patrik-Ian Polk indie film, The Skinny. Five years before, a French magazine had flat-out asked if he was gay, and he’d said yes. He had a giant equal sign tattooed on one arm, which was on full display in Empire.

Instead, he sang a song from the show and told DeGeneres how he handled negative tweets about Jamal’s coming out. The interview wrapped. They stood up and hugged, and he said, “I was ready to talk about it,” had she asked. “She told me, ‘You don’t have to.’ I will be forever grateful to Ellen for the kindness she showed me. And that made me want to talk about it.”

So when the cameras were set up again in the green room, DeGeneres asked, and he answered. Sort of. “There’s never been a closet that I’ve been in,” he said. His sister Jurnee was there with him, and she posted an Instagram of the two of them jumping up triumphantly in the air in front of the Ellen logo. She tagged it: #Andtheworldkeepsspinning #proudsister.

“It was a much bigger deal for other people than it was for me,” Smollett insists.

Now, a year and some change since Empire’s launch, he’s ready to get more specific. “I am a gay man with an extremely open heart,” he says, easy and assured until he’s asked to elaborate on what that means to him. “God, I’ve never had to talk about this, so I’m trying to find the words. If I had to label myself, I would label myself as a gay man. With that said, I believe that love is the only thing that matters, and I would hope that anybody would leave themselves open — not to gender, but to love. I would hope that people would not close themselves off from what could be if, lo and behold, you meet somebody that just sweeps you off your feet, and you just can’t do anything about it. If we truly believe that we are born this way, then why do we try to stifle the way we were born? If I fall in love down the road with a woman, I’m going to love that woman.”

“I’m sure that those words will be misconstrued,” he says, because if there’s one thing he’s learned this year, it’s how easily that can happen. “But this is a conversation that deserves to be had, because we don’t all understand each other. You’re not going to tell me that loving someone is wrong. That does not mean that heterosexuality is not very real. It does not mean that bisexuality is not very real. It does not mean that homosexuality is not very real. They are all very real. But what I’m saying is, I am a gay man. I am a gay man. I am a gay man. I don’t know how many times I have to say that.”

There was one guy he dated this past year, a “wonderful person,” he says. “It started off as, ‘They don’t understand anything about my life!’ And then it turned into...” He switches from sweet appreciation to frustration. ‘They don’t understand anything about my life.’ I have way too much love to give not to find my baby for life, but I don’t think now is the time.”

Meanwhile, back at Empire, the melodrama continues. Smollett teases that the surprising season 2 hookup between Jamal and Skye Summers, a songstress played by Alicia Keys, may not be the only time we’ll see his character slide a little on the Kinsey scale. “We got a lot of shit for that, and I get it,” he says, while pointing out he would have expected nothing but cheers from the queers if Jamal’s brother Andre had experimented with a guy. “All of these children would be like, ‘Yes! Andre’s gay!’ Jamal didn’t have a problem with kissing Skye Summers — the people around him had an issue with it. It’s usually other people’s issues, not our own.”

Other people’s issues — like the limitations for an out gay actor. Daniels says, “I think Jussie is a prime example of how life in Hollywood is changing — and that’s what makes me so proud. He is redefining through Empire what a leading man can be.”

The night before his co-star Henson will win the Golden Globe for best actress in a TV drama (handing out cookies in honor of her character’s name while making her way to the stage to accept), Smollett is just looking forward to going home and spending time with his niece. “She doesn’t give a damn about Empire,” he says, fondly.

“When I was growing up,” he adds, “I would ask my mother a question, and she’d be like, ‘Now, you know the answer to that. Usually the simplest answer is the best one.’ Usually the simplest answer is the right one.”

“I absolutely, with everything in my heart, I swear to you, believe that at people’s core, they want to be good — and I will cry about it because I believe it so much,” Smollett says. “I don’t believe that we were created to hate. I believe that we were created only to love. Love is the root of the happiest of times and of wars. Love, or lack of love — but love is the root of everything.”

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 2254"

"Saturday Morning In The House Of Love..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"The Artist's Corner..."

Oil on linen
Will Wilson

Friday, January 29, 2016

"Gay PDA Is Okay!"

"Love Is Brave... Live Fearlessly"

"The Truth About Real Love..."

Married Hollywood Power Couple:
Deondray & Quincy Gossfield

"The Views To Love..."

Love is a family affair...

"The Truth About Karma..."

The pastor may loose his church to a foreclosure auction because of unpaid debts,
court documents show. The pastor may loose his church to a foreclosure auction 
because of unpaid debts, court documents show. 

Homophobic Pastor's Harlem Church Up for Public Auction Over Unpaid Debts
Gustavo Solis
January 28, 2016

HARLEM — The church that thinks "Jesus would stone homos" is scheduled to be put up for public auction next month because their pastor hasn’t paid his debts.

A state judge ordered Atlah Worldwide Church to be sold at a public foreclosure auction after failing to pay creditors more than $1.02 million, court records show.

Church leader Pastor James Manning said in a phone conversation with DNAinfo New York that the foreclosure was mostly over unpaid water and sewage bills and vowed to fight the order, claiming his church’s tax exempt status means he doesn’t have to pay.

“I assure you, it’s about a water bill and a tax that can’t be levied against this church,” Manning said. “I think it’s a land grab quite frankly.”

Manning said he found out about the public auction last week and was previously unaware that there was a legal case against his church despite the fact that the case began in September 2009 and his lawyer filed an answer to the complaint a month later.

What Manning didn’t say is that there are nine federal tax liens against him totaling more than $355,000 from as far back as 2002. He also owes New York State for more than $28,000 and other creditors more than $30,000, public records show.

According to city records, the Internal Revenue Service released a federal lien against Manning in 2006 and the Bank of New York Mellon was assigned that lien in 2010.

The church does receive $186,000 in tax exemption benefits from New York City, records show.

The city’s Department of Environmental Protection would not say if churches are exempt from water and sewage charges, but the agency's website lists $194,000 in outstanding water bills.

The church had until April 2015 to pay creditors back the $1.02 million, according to court documents.

On Dec. 17, Judge Joan Kenny ordered a foreclosure sale. The debt was calculated by court-appointed referee, Arthur Greig.

The public auction will be Feb. 24, according to a public notice posted at the New York Law Journal.

Over the years, Atlah has drawn negative attention for posting homophobic and politically charged messages on a sign at the corner of 123rd Street and Lenox Avenue.

The controversial messages, like "Jesus would stone homos" or "Harlem is a sodomite free zone" have drawn community protests. The church has also received violations form the Landmarks Preservation Commission for erecting the sign — and other alterations — without permission.

Manning has previously said the church did not have enough money to pay the violations.


"Pastor" Manning, I think you'll agree...

Karma is a bitch!

I know I shouldn't have, but I couldn't help smiling when I heard about this...

"The Truth About Who We Are..."

photo by Kevin Truong

Ivory, Student, Little Rock, Arkansas

by thegaymenproject
photos by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Ivory, in his own words: "As a 20 year old male, being gay doesn't really mean anything to me to be honest. I'm pretty sure I'd feel the same way on a daily basis if I were straight. The only thing different is liking a guy or a girl. At the end of the day, "Gay" is just anther label. We are all human. Doesn't matter if you are white, black, man, woman, gay or straight.
In my life I've had many challenges. Primarily, coming from a very low income home. I had to learn how to survive at a very young age. I had to also overcome school issues. I was very shy in primary school. I refused to do work and got a warning that if I didn't start showing improvement, I would be transferred to "special" classes. Obviously I changed and began to preform a lot better because I knew I had no problems learning. I had to step it up and with a lot of help, I am now on my way to my 3'rd year in college and I also have a very good job. That's what happens when you never give up.
The gay community in Little Rock is very interesting. We don't have a big openly gay cast but most of the locals for the most part support us. We normally have no problems in public other than a couple of occasional "Sighs" and "frowns". But nothing too drastic. For the most part, we don't have that much drama. We all know and love each other. We're pretty much one big happy family.
I came out of the closet April 30, 2013. I had a boyfriend at the time and we decided it was too hard to hold a relationship and be in the closet at the same time. But if we came out, we had to come out with a bang. That day we took a photo us kissing each other and posted it on Facebook. After 24 hours it received 1.1K likes and over 350 comments. We were overwhelmed of how many people saw us and heard about us. News spread all over Little Rock. We would go to parties and people we didn't even knew would run up to us asking us questions and says they were big fans. But, we knew the news would spread to our families. I returned home that summer expecting a lot of disappointment. I walked in the door and my mom was smiling. Her exact words were. "So when will I get to meet my soon to be son-in-law". I was in tears. My mom accepted me being gay. I was so afraid that she would be upset at me. It turns out that all of my family accepted me as well. It was a huge sign of relief.
If I were to give my younger self advice, It would be to never take anything and anyone for granted. I would tell me to listen to how others feel and don't be selfish. I would also tell him to never give up on anything and always strive for the best things in life because he is worth it and so much more."


"Fear Eats the Soul"

"We Were Always There..."

"Gay romance was always beautiful..."

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 2253"

"Love Is Happiness..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"The Artist's Corner..."

"Deep In The Heart Of Transition"
Brendon Sanborn

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